Tonight's Gameshow: Name That Noise

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SirMike1983

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
The best thing you can do is find a mechanic who works on old bikes to mentor you in learning how to work on these. The internet is fine, but hands-on is much better.

Noise and fault checking is done by elimination. Isolate out each variable and see if the noise still happens. You've already started to do this

"This is a new noise. Its coming from up front. It makes a "fwap" sound. Kind of like I'm running over rocks and they are hitting my fender, except that is not the case."

How is this new? Is it new since the shop worked on the bike? If so, what did you have them do to it? The cause of the noise resides in something they did, perhaps even just putting it back together.

"Nothing is obviously rubbing. Nothing is obviously loose. I took the tire off and put it back on. That didn't change anything. The front springs seem uncompromised. They hold tension with no qualms, came off and were reattached with no concerning issues. The fork seems fine. I checked the hardware in the front in general for obvious cracks."

When you fault find, start with the easiest thing to fix, not the hardest. The easiest thing is that the fender is rubbing somewhere and you have to adjust them. You did that, which is good. Don't worry about the tire - they generally don't cause this kind of sound unless rubbing on the fender or the inside of the fork.

"The noise will happen if I'm peddling or coasting."

So not the bottom bracket bearings.

"It doesn't happen despite how hard I bounce up and down and stress the shocks."

Probably not the springs then. It's not the seat either because you're getting the noise in the second video with no real weight load on the bike.

"It does not happen any more than usual whether I'm turning or on a straight away."

Then it's not the headset bearings. You DO need to get grease in that headset if it's dry, but that can wait. The noise isn't the headset if it is happening in that second video. The lack of weight load and the lack of turning would eliminate headset issues for the noise.

"It does happen, (however it is quieter), when I am walking beside her. It doesn't happen in a pattern. It's just random every few seconds. It happens when she is upside down and I am spinning her front tire. I can also feel the vibration/noise in the handlebars when I'm riding. It's definitely getting worse. I did about 6 blocks of riding and haven't been on her since."

You're right to focus on that front wheel then. The possibilities are bearing issues or spoke issues. Squeeze the spokes on the front wheel. Do they feel all over the place in terms of tension? [Spokes: you can get creaking from spokes too tight, spokes too loose, or a combination of the two.] When you spin the wheel, does it feel "grabby" or "rough" at all? [bearings] I lean toward bearings because spoke noises generally crop up under weight load and go away when you put the bike on its back or the stand where the load is gone. This is not 100% of the time, but mostly.

"The bike shop is convinced it has nothing to do with the front tire, bearings, or hub. Do I believe them? No... however, I don't know what I'm doing so I'm not apt to believe I'm right about much of anything. But I would not generally believe their advice after I took her in originally and they bawked and tried to assert to me for five minutes that she is a Schwinn, which they can't service, and want nothing to do with.... Rant aside..."

What did they do to the bike, if this started after they serviced it? Was it just a tire change? If it was, there's a chance they pulled the wheel and messed up the cone tension in that front wheel. If they trued the wheel too, perhaps the spokes are the issue. Forget what the shop said to you for now - I have serious doubts as to their credibility on this one. If it were my project, I'd go straight to checking the bearing and spoke tension.

"They also said it could be the head tube. Which I am more inclined to believe. It's rusted tight to be honest. They believe the bearings are rusted and she needs serviced. I took her home to PB blast that tonight in hopes maybe it's a bearing in there that's making the noise? It would make sense as to how I can feel it in the handlebars...but what doesn't add up is the noise when I flip her over."

The head tube is a static tube in the frame of the bike. The joint you refer to is the headset. You need to grease it if it's dry, but it's not the headset if the noise is happening with zero weight load and no turning.
 

razinhellcustomz

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
The best thing you can do is find a mechanic who works on old bikes to mentor you in learning how to work on these. The internet is fine, but hands-on is much better.

Noise and fault checking is done by elimination. Isolate out each variable and see if the noise still happens. You've already started to do this

"This is a new noise. Its coming from up front. It makes a "fwap" sound. Kind of like I'm running over rocks and they are hitting my fender, except that is not the case."

How is this new? Is it new since the shop worked on the bike? If so, what did you have them do to it? The cause of the noise resides in something they did, perhaps even just putting it back together.

"Nothing is obviously rubbing. Nothing is obviously loose. I took the tire off and put it back on. That didn't change anything. The front springs seem uncompromised. They hold tension with no qualms, came off and were reattached with no concerning issues. The fork seems fine. I checked the hardware in the front in general for obvious cracks."

When you fault find, start with the easiest thing to fix, not the hardest. The easiest thing is that the fender is rubbing somewhere and you have to adjust them. You did that, which is good. Don't worry about the tire - they generally don't cause this kind of sound unless rubbing on the fender or the inside of the fork.

"The noise will happen if I'm peddling or coasting."

So not the bottom bracket bearings.

"It doesn't happen despite how hard I bounce up and down and stress the shocks."

Probably not the springs then. It's not the seat either because you're getting the noise in the second video with no real weight load on the bike.

"It does not happen any more than usual whether I'm turning or on a straight away."

Then it's not the headset bearings. You DO need to get grease in that headset if it's dry, but that can wait. The noise isn't the headset if it is happening in that second video. The lack of weight load and the lack of turning would eliminate headset issues for the noise.

"It does happen, (however it is quieter), when I am walking beside her. It doesn't happen in a pattern. It's just random every few seconds. It happens when she is upside down and I am spinning her front tire. I can also feel the vibration/noise in the handlebars when I'm riding. It's definitely getting worse. I did about 6 blocks of riding and haven't been on her since."

You're right to focus on that front wheel then. The possibilities are bearing issues or spoke issues. Squeeze the spokes on the front wheel. Do they feel all over the place in terms of tension? [Spokes: you can get creaking from spokes too tight, spokes too loose, or a combination of the two.] When you spin the wheel, does it feel "grabby" or "rough" at all? [bearings] I lean toward bearings because spoke noises generally crop up under weight load and go away when you put the bike on its back or the stand where the load is gone. This is not 100% of the time, but mostly.

"The bike shop is convinced it has nothing to do with the front tire, bearings, or hub. Do I believe them? No... however, I don't know what I'm doing so I'm not apt to believe I'm right about much of anything. But I would not generally believe their advice after I took her in originally and they bawked and tried to assert to me for five minutes that she is a Schwinn, which they can't service, and want nothing to do with.... Rant aside..."

What did they do to the bike, if this started after they serviced it? Was it just a tire change? If it was, there's a chance they pulled the wheel and messed up the cone tension in that front wheel. If they trued the wheel too, perhaps the spokes are the issue. Forget what the shop said to you for now - I have serious doubts as to their credibility on this one. If it were my project, I'd go straight to checking the bearing and spoke tension.

"They also said it could be the head tube. Which I am more inclined to believe. It's rusted tight to be honest. They believe the bearings are rusted and she needs serviced. I took her home to PB blast that tonight in hopes maybe it's a bearing in there that's making the noise? It would make sense as to how I can feel it in the handlebars...but what doesn't add up is the noise when I flip her over."

The head tube is a static tube in the frame of the bike. The joint you refer to is the headset. You need to grease it if it's dry, but it's not the headset if the noise is happening with zero weight load and no turning.
It's operator head-space and timing....
 

J-wagon

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Just noticed post is 5 yrs ago. Hopefully mystery solved. The video is gone but I think sound from hub bearing ball disintegrated.
 

MrMonark13

Finally riding a big boys bike
This reminds me of a time when my front hub was making some strange noises. I did the responsible thing and ignored it. On a ride later that day, my axel snapped in half which destroyed my caged bearings and cracked my hub shell. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Never ignore a strange noise from a bicycle. If usually ends really bad.
 
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